Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office Investigating Suspicious Barn Fire

A barn with no power or other utilities connected to it suspiciously caught fire Thursday night in Grand Traverse County.

Sheriff’s investigators say they believe someone is responsible for the barn fire.

Around 7p.m. Thursday, Grand Traverse Rural Fire responded to the barn fire off M-113 just outside the Village of Kingsley.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson continue our coverage on where the investigation goes from here.

“You’re kind of thinking to yourself, well there’s something going on here.”

An unoccupied barn, with no utilities that was being used to store bales of hay, is now the scene of a suspicious fire investigation.

“We just try to figure out what happened,” says Ben McManus, Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Deputy and Fire Investigator.

The Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office fire investigators were called in to help Friday morning.

“Because of it being in a rural area and no one being very close by, we wanted to take a look around and see if there was anything suspicious that stood out to us right away,” McManus says. “Check for tracks around and that type of activity.”

Grand Traverse Rural Fire responded to the barn Thursday night.

“We were fortunate that it did not get into the heavy fire load into the barn which is stored round bales,” says Grand Traverse Rural Fire Chief Theo Weber. “If it had gotten into that it would have been a different situation.”

Chief Weber says when the owner heard about the fire, he rushed over here with his commercial snow blower and started taking whatever action he could to keep the flames from getting much worse.

“The owners of the barn were attempting to suppress the fire themselves using a tractor-mounted snow blower to blow snow onto the fire and some fire extinguishers,” Chief Weber says.

The sheriff’s office says they believe someone is responsible.

“They stated that they’ve had a problem with teenagers accessing the barn. That it’s normally kept locked, but they’ve found it open several times or they’ve pulled boards off the side of the barn to access it,” says Chief Weber.

“We’ll look on the inside and see if there’s any evidence that we can come across that might help put the puzzle together and figure out what made this fire happen,” says McManus.

If you have any information about the fire, you are asked to call the Silent Observer tip line at 231-947-8477.